Some Smart911 subscribers confused by emergency alerts


MISSOULA Mont. - If you received an emergency notification on your cellphone last week it came from the new Smart911 system.

Officials tell us they got a dozen phone calls shortly after an alert for a missing man went out on Friday.

Callers said they were confused about why they got that alert. Some just wanted to know how to turn the alerts off.

To opt out of emergency alerts on your cellphone, you have to go online, where you subscribed to the Smart911 system, and turn them off. Otherwise you will continue to receive them.

The Missoula County Office of Emergency Management says Friday's alert is proof that they work

"It was a relatively large area that the alert went out to. I think there were 14,000 registered phones -- landline phones and cellphones in that area. It went out to all those folks, and probably within a half hour of sending that alert the subject was found," said Adriane Beck, the director of the Office of Emergency Management.

You cannot opt out of the forced emergency alerts, which go to all cellphones in the danger zone. Forced emergency alerts are less frequent and are for extreme emergencies.

The Smart911 system has been operational since 2013.